Pumpkin cupcakes are great for Halloween because they are really easy to make and they look great. Get your kids to help make and decorate them!
Step 1: Supplies
- Cake recipe of choice - I used a yellow cake mix because I figure pumpkins are yellow on the inside.
- Frosting recipe of choice - I bought cream cheese frosting.
- Orange gel food coloring for frosting - you can use white frosting, but I thought orange looked better. Using yellow+red works too.
- Chocolate chips - for the stems
- Orange Sugar Sprinkles - I used 1 whole container, but since you are "dunking" the cupcakes in it, you might want to have 2 bottles on hand just in case.
- Optional: white chocolate and green gel food coloring / or / green candy melts for vines
- Cupcake liners - I like how orange looks since the whole cupcake is supposed to be a pumpkin, but I think white, brown, and tan could work too. And Halloween themed of course.
- Supplies to make cupcakes including cupcake pan
- Wax paper
- Zip lock bags
- Skewer - or chopstick or the back of a butter knife
- Bowl for sprinkles
Step 2: Make Your Cupcakes
Time to make cupcakes!
As I mentioned in the supplies, I used a yellow cake mix because I'm still nervous about making cakes from scratch. But to make the cake a bit better, I used butter instead of oil, milk instead of water, and added about 3 teaspoons of cinnamon (because cinnamon goes with autumn).
Try to get them to puff up. Since pumpkins are rounded a bit on top, having them dome is ideal. For some reason, the big pan of cupcakes I did were all flat, but then the few I did last to use up the rest of the mix domed. I do not know how I made it happen.
Step 3: Make Pumpkin Stems
If you are going to make your pumpkin stems from melted chocolate chips, do it while the cupcakes are baking. You want to give them time to harden.
Melt some chocolate chips and put the melted mixture in a zip lock bag with the corner snipped. Make sure it is a very small cut.
I made my stems by going up and down with the chocolate. I figured pumpkin stems look like lines going up and down, so that was how I tried to do the chocolate.
I would say to try to make them no bigger than 1.5 inches and try to not make them too fat. You are going to stick these into the cupcake tops, so you want them proportional and skinnier are easier to stick in. I made a couple notes on the second to last image above.
Make more than you need to make up for stems that break or just stems you don't want to use.
If you decide to pre-make your pumpkin vines, you can do that now as well with white chocolate and green gel food coloring.
Step 4: Frost Cupakes
Pour your sprinkles into a little bowl for dunking.
Like I said before, you can use white frosting, but I prefer how it looks with frosting that has been dyed orange. You can see you don't need it dark, just give the frosting some color (the second to last picture has orange frosting, and the last picture had white frosting).
Frost your cupcake. You don't have to make it really thick, but don't frost too thinly. You are going to make indents in the frosting so you need some depth to do this.
Once it is frosted, carefully dunk it in the sprinkles until the frosting is completely covered.
Once the frosting is coated in sprinkles, carefully roll a skewer over the top of the cupcake 3 times (creating 6 sections around the top of the cupcake as shown).
Keep a paper towel handy and if the skewer gets sticky, wipe it off so you don't wreak your cupcakes.
Step 5: Add Stems
Time to add the stems! To make it easier, I used a chopstick to stab a hole in the middle of the cupcake where all the lines meet.
Use the stems you like best and carefully stick them in the holes you just made.
Step 6: Add Vines
Now you can add your pumpkin vines. Since I didn't want the flat, I decided to pipe them right on the cupcakes. You can, optionally, pipe these on wax paper ahead of time and just stick them on top.
You can also pipe them ahead of time on wax paper that is draped over a bowl (or spoon, rolling pin, anything curved). This will give the vines a curve to them and might make them sit on the cupcakes better.
Step 7: Done
Enjoy your cupcakes.
I think the sprinkles can get to be a bit much, but they look nice :)